Stateless boy nets 3rd place in origami aircraft competition

Mong Thongdee

Mong Thongdee

The stateless boy representing Thailand in a paper plane flight competition, Mong Thongdee, netted a third place in his solo event after winning the team event on Saturday.

Mong, the 12-year-old boy from the northern province of Chiang Mai, attending the international paper airplane flying contest in Japan’s Chiba is scheduled to return home on Monday.

His paper plane stayed aloft in the air for 10.53 seconds, taking third place in the individual event for competitors aged 12 years old. On Saturday, Mong was part of a three-person team, including two adults. His team won the champion with Mong’s paper plane flying for 11 seconds.

Born to ethnic Myanmar parents in Thailand, Mong, a Prathom 4 (Grade 4) student at Ban Huay Sai School, entered the limelight when he visited the Ministry of Interior on September 2 to seek official permission to leave the country for the competition.

The ministry had earlier denied such permission since the youth’s parents are Myanmar migrants who entered Thailand in 2004 and are registered as foreign labourers. By having such status, his birth is not officially registered either in Thailand or in Myanmar

Later, Mong was granted a yellow passport, a temporary travel document issued by the Thai Foreign Ministry’s Department of Consular Affair, on September 4 to attend the contest. (TNA)